PSB Alpha Studio Theater System

PSB Alpha Studio Theater System

When my colleague Neil Gader reviewed PSB’s award-winning Alpha B1 mini-monitor in The Absolute Sound issue 70, he called the speaker “an achievement that borders on the surreal,” and he’s absolutely right. So it should come as no surprise that PSB’s Alpha Studio Theater system, a 5.1-channel system that is based on the Alpha B1, is likewise a sonic overachiever of the first rank, and a screamin’ good deal to boot.

Here’s what you get in the Alpha Studio Theater package: a pair of two-way Alpha B1 monitors (used as L/R main speakers), a two-way/ three-driver Alpha C1 center channel speaker, a pair of two-way Alpha LR1 monitors (used as surrounds), and a big, beefy SubSeries 5i subwoofer (the same sub PSB uses in some of its more expensive surround packages). And the price? A more than fair $1256 (assuming the U.S. dollar doesn’t sink further relative to its Canadian counterpart).

As you’ll see in a moment, the Studio Theater system is more of a brilliant all-rounder than it is a killer performer in any one area. But what impressed me from the start—and even more after prolonged listening sessions—is how amazingly competent this system is across all performance areas, and for so little money.


If you asked me to supply a one-word review of PSB’s Alpha Studio Theater system, that word would be “balanced,” with a capital “B.” More so than most systems in this class, the Studio Theater rig exhibits well-balanced, neutral tonal response, a balanced combination of extended frequency response with strong dynamic capabilities from top to bottom, and a fine balance between detail and nuance on the one hand, and smoothness and freedom from edginess on the other. Are you getting the picture? This system rarely bowls you over with any one performance characteristic, but the longer you listen the more you may come to feel—as I did—that it simply “sounds right,” rarely if ever putting a sonic foot wrong.

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